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How to strengthen your immune system

By supporting and nurturing our immune system, we can make an important contribution to our health. When our immune system is working well, we feel healthy and full of energy.

Author Charles-Antoine Winter, Nutritionist

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Fit for all seasons

6 tips for your immune system

  • Bask in sunlight whenever possible
  • Avoid chronic stress
  • Do moderate exercise and take walks in the fresh air
  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Take time to relax
  • Treat yourself to a visit to the sauna or a Kneipp treatment now and then
This is how the immune system works

Our immune system has an army of little soldiers whose job it is to constantly protect our body from invaders. These soldiers, or immune cells, are produced throughout our organism in so-called lymphoid tissues and organs. The places where immune cells are synthesised are near the areas of the body that have contact with the outside world. These are the throat with the tonsils and the lungs as well as the digestive tract. Immune cells are also produced in the spleen and activated, circulated or eliminated by the liver, an important organ for blood purification.
The immune system thus strengthens and develops primarily in the area of the mucous membranes, which are in contact with the outside world and its multitude of viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites etc.. But there is also a defence system in the blood in case of invasion by attackers.
So, in order to be armed for attacks, our defence system must strengthen its barricades on the following 4 levels:

1. A harmonic lifestyle

Stress caused by lack of sleep, lack of or excessive exercise, tobacco, alcohol, pollutants, unbalanced diet or highly processed foods weakens the organism, "wastes" the nutritional components essential for immune defence and makes you feel powerless and overwhelmed. Vitamin C and zinc are particularly important because they strengthen the organism's defences and protect it from the oxidative stress that occurs when foreign pathogens are eliminated.

2. A healthy digestion

The digestive system is something like our body's Great Wall of China. It tries to protect us against possible dangers that could threaten us through our diet. To make this wall insurmountable, our diet should be rich in glutamine, zinc and vitamin D. In addition, a regular intake of mild dietary fibres rich in probiotics is recommended. These are found in Jerusalem artichokes, chestnuts, garlic, onions and leeks, for example. These are all foods that are also in season in autumn and winter.

3. Regular and invigorating physical activity

Moderate exercise and walks in the fresh air strengthen the body's defences.
A healthy, well-nourished and active body knows how to quickly overcome colds and flu-like infections. Numerous studies show that the three elements zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D support our immune system.
Certain essential oils, such as eucalyptus oil, also have antiviral properties. However, avoid antibiotics against viral diseases, because they have an antibacterial effect that damages their intestinal flora, while they can do nothing against viruses.

4. A balanced and well-functioning liver

In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is called "the general". Restraint is recommended with sweets, chocolate, alcohol, dairy products and highly processed foods with many additives, as they can stress the liver. Lack of exercise and a negative state of mind can also have an unfavourable effect on the liver. How about sports activities in the great outdoors with good friends? Because the happiness hormone oxytocin soothes "the general" and leads him to victory without a fight.

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